Regardless of where you are in your fitness journey, it’s a good idea to track your fitness progress. It can make you feel proud of your accomplishments or make you realize that maybe taking that month off wasn’t such a hot idea.
You may feel like you just know where you are but I think most of us don’t realize how we’re actually doing. This is where it pays off to track your fitness progress.
I’ve discussed the value of measurements before. I really like being able to see how I’m doing. I have a journal where I track my weight. I also include my measurements every few weeks. It’s a good idea to get a measuring tape and measure your waist, hips and maybe your thigh. Other parts of your body are difficult to measure on your own but if you have someone to help, you could throw in measuring your chest and your biceps.
You certainly don’t need to measure every day but maybe once a month, look and see where you are. Even changing by half an inch may be a great sign of progress.
This might be where you track other measurements too. This can be numbers provided by your doctor from blood work or tracking your blood pressure or resting heart rate.
Many of us hate to have our pictures taken, especially when we’re wearing our workout clothes. I urge you to get over that and take pictures of yourself. If you’re doing a selfie, you want to try to get most of your body in the shot so you may need to use a mirror for the shot.
Save your photos from races and group runs or group fitness events.
Again, photos can be motivating because you may see progress or you may see backsliding. You know that old saying, cameras never lie. Of course that saying is definitely old because now with PhotoShop and filters and everything, many photos do lie but try to keep the originals so you can track your progress.
Write Down Your Strength Workouts
I love weight lifting. If I could only choose one thing to do, I suspect that I would opt to just lift weights. One reason I like weight lifting is that it’s so easy to track your results. Why? Because you’re lifting WEIGHT and it’s easy to measure.
Today I did deadlifts in a fitness class and my max was 105 pounds. Now I know that last year I deadlifted 150 pounds so it’s easy for me to see that I either was slacking today or have lost some strength. I suspect that it’s a bit of both.
If you lift weights, keep track of your sets and what you’re actually lifting. Over time you can see how you’re gaining strength.
Record Weight and Body Fat
This is similar to taking measurements. Jump on a scale periodically. We’ve talked about weighing ourselves every day but many people dislike that. I suggest that you weigh yourself regularly and record it. It’s an easy way to see what your body is doing.
Perhaps more importantly is to track your body fat if you can. I get this checked at my gym every so often using a hand-held device.
Many scales are now available that also provide you with body fat numbers. I know many say that these scales aren’t accurate but I think they’re great for watching trends. As long as you’re using the same scale, you can see if that percentage is going up or down.
Once a month or so, test yourself. See if you can lift more weight or do more reps in a set. You can do something like set a timer for a minute and see how many push ups you can do. Or you can do the opposite and do 20 burpees and track how much time it takes. If you do this regularly, you will probably begin to see improvements. You might get to the point where you think, “I hate doing 20 burpees” and then you’ll know it’s time to change the test.
Track Your Fitness Progress
It pays to track your progress. Whether it’s seeing that you’re an inch smaller at the waist or that you can do 3 more push ups than you did last month, it’s motivating to know that you’re improving.
Be sure to write this information down because, trust me, you won’t remember the details.
If you’re on this fitness journey long enough, you’ll eventually have photos going back years and that is invaluable.
Let me know if you do any of these things or if you’re going to add them to your routine. I’d love to hear how it works for you.